Title: The Dead Matter

Directed by: Edward Douglas

Starring: Andrew Divoff, Jason Carter and Tom Savini

Is this another example of a musician following in the footsteps of Rob Zombie? Composer and Midnight Syndicate music group creator Edward Douglas has taken the leap into the horror film genre by co-writing and directing the new movie ‘The Dead Matter.’ The film, which is now available on DVD and stars Tom Savini, Andrew Divoff and Jason Carter, combines the two biggest sub-genres of horror today, vampires and zombies in an interesting plot of good vs. evil.

The movie follows two vampire lords, Sebed (played by Savini) and Vellich (portrayed by Divoff), as they fight each other to be the first to find a powerful relic, the scarab, which can control the dead. They both want the scarab because they both have sinister plans for it. However, vampire hunter Ian McCallister (played by Carter) is also searching for the scarab, as he plans on destroying it.

Meanwhile, Gretchen (portrayed by Sean Serino) convinces her boyfriend Mike (played by Tom Nagel) to go into the woods with her to perform a séance in an effort to contact her dead brother Sean (portrayed by Kenyatta Foster). Their friends Jill (played by CB Spencer) and Frank (portrayed by Chris Robichaud) go with them, and Frank accidentally finds the scarab. Gretchen uses it to contact Sean, and soon realizes that she can control the dead with it.

As Sebed and Vellich continue to search for the scarab, Gretchen and Mike discover they can continuously control a zombie named Mark. While Mike and Jill want nothing to do with him, Gretchen keeps on using the scarab, thinking if she can control Mark, she can bring Sean back.

‘The Dead Matter’ starts off with an interesting concept, as it combines the two horror genres into one storyline. Not only does it show Sebed and Vellich wanting to control vampires and the dead, but the plot also has characters who want to perform scientific experiment on the zombies, like ‘Day of the Dead.’

However, as a result, Douglas, who co-wrote the film with Tony Demci, was not able to fully develop the characters, as there were so many of them. For example, while the viewers will understand why Gretchen wants to use the scarab to bring Sean back, nothing more is revealed about them. The audience is left wondering what their relationship was like, the circumstances of his death, etc.

Not much background is revealed about Sebed, Vellich and Ian either, and they are the other major characters in the film. It was also never fully and clearly explained why Sebed and Villich wanted the scarab, and how Ian planned to stop them. It would have been interesting to see what the two vampire lords had planned for the scarab, and how they would control the dead. Considering ‘The Dead Matter’ was only one hour and 37 minutes long, Douglas can have added this information without making the movie too long or drawn out.

But Douglas was skillfully able to interweave a subtle moral into the story, which is unusual for a horror film. With Gretchen’s heartache over losing her brother, Douglas was able to show that people have to deal with their grief. No one can be brought back from the dead (in real life; in the movie’s world, zombies are nothing like their old selves), and the living have to learn how to move on with their lives.

Douglas, was also able to draw on his musical experience with Midnight Syndicate, a goth group whose music is primarily featured during the Halloween season in haunted attractions, to include a score in the film that adds an eerie ambiance. Viewers will undoubtedly feel as though they are in the woods with Gretchen and her friends, in the library when she is doing research on the scarab, in Sebed’s vampire lair, etc., just by the subtle instruments heard in the background.

Being distributed on DVD by Midnight Syndicate Films, in association with Precinct 13 Entertainment, ‘The Dead Matter’ is a must-see for fans of the music group and the horror genre in general. Not only does the movie expose horror fans who may have never heard Midnight Syndicate’s songs before to similarly-themed music, it also showcases Douglas’ creativity and knack for writing.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Dead Matter DVD
Dead Matter DVD

By Karen Benardello

As a graduate of LIU Post with a B.F.A in Journalism, Print and Electronic, Karen Benardello serves as ShockYa's Senior Movies & Television Editor. Her duties include interviewing filmmakers and musicians, and scribing movie, television and music reviews and news articles. As a New York City-area based journalist, she's a member of the guilds, New York Film Critics Online and the Women Film Critics Circle.

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